ITLOS President Shunji Yanai dialogues with Asia Pacific Ambassadors at the Philippine Residence in Berlin#
22 October 2013 – Berlin. Consistent with the Department’s efforts to promote rule of law and seek open, friendly, and durable solution to international maritime disputes, H.E. Maria Cleofe R. Natividad, Ambassador of the Philippines to Germany, recently invited H.E. Shunji Yanai, President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), to be the guest of honor at the Asia Pacific Group of Ambassadors luncheon in Berlin.
Ambassador Natividad hosted the luncheon and dialogue with the objective of highlighting the important role of ITLOS in adjudicating international maritime disputes and the impressive work of the ITLOS under President Yanai.
In her introductory remarks, Ambassador Natividad highlighted that international cooperation must be founded on the rule of law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This echoed the sentiment of President Aquino during the recent ASEAN Summit and related Summits, where the West Philippine Sea once again took center stage.
During the briefing and open forum with Ambassadors of Asia Pacific countries, President Yanai explained the dispute settlement procedures under the 1982 UNCLOS. He also gave updates on the developments in the tribunal, particularly those relevant to Asia Pacific states.
The Asia Pacific Ambassadors were particularly interested to hear President Yanai’s review of the territorial sea delimitation case brought to ITLOS by Bangladesh and Myanmar, the first of its kind heard by the court. President Yanai, for his part, further noted that the 2012 ITLOS decision established the boundary of the territorial sea, exclusive economic zone, and continental shelf between both Myanmar and Bangladesh. The ITLOS case followed years of protracted negotiations between both countries.
As the sitting ITLOS President, Mr. Yanai was tasked earlier in the year to nominate the remaining arbitrators on the arbitral panel to hear the case initiated by the Philippines against China’s claims to the South China Sea under the 1982 UNCLOS. To date, the Arbitral Tribunal constituted has adopted the rules of procedure and decided that the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague shall act as the Registry in the proceedings.
Recently, ITLOS has again found itself at the center of a high profile dispute, with Netherlands recently requesting ITLOS to prescribe provisional measures against the Russian Federation, with respect to the release of the Greenpeace vessel “Arctic Sunrise” and its thirty man crew, which was detained last month in the Barents Sea. – END